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Big names coming to Greenbrier resort to raise funds for addiction prevention in W.Va. youth

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 12:05 AM EDT
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WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. (WSAZ) - The first annual Game Changer Golf Classic and prevention education two-day event is set to happen this week, and it’s bringing some big celebrity names with it.

The West Virginia Game Changer initiative, endorsed by Gov. Jim Justice, is a public-private organization designed to educate, support and empower our youth. The program focuses on helping kids fight against addiction and behavioral issues.

“There’s a lot of people who really want to make an investment in West Virginia’s children and so we are partnering with (Game Changer) and are honored to be in the state of West Virginia,” said Joseph Lee, incoming CEO of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.

On Wednesday and Thursday this week, the Game Changer Golf Classic will be taking place at the Greenbrier resort. The goal of the two-day event is to help raise funds to provide prevention programs in schools across West Virginia.

“The event the next couple of days is just the portion where we are meeting with stakeholders (and) making sure there is fundraising and alignment of mission and values,” Lee said.

Some stakeholders include Clarksburg native and Texas A&M head football coach, Jimbo Fisher, and Alabama football coach Nick Seban.

Lee said it’s possible to pinpoint early addiction patterns in children as young as 10 years old, so they’re hoping to create a better future for the state by starting out with the youth.

“There’s a lot of science out there, just like there are risk factors for the development of heart disease and diabetes,” Lee told WSAZ. “There are psychological and behavioral (signs) that young people who are at risk have.”

Lee said they do not harp on the danger of drugs to children during these programs. Rather, they focus on building resilience and strong skills.

“One of our prevention products (is) called ‘Building assets and reducing risks’ (which aims) to address the building of positive skills within young people so that they are more resilient in fending off various problems they might be at risk for from a young age,” he said.

Other celebrities are also expected to be in attendance at the event.

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